My Simple Oversight Caused An Embarrassing Travel Moment

by joeheg

When you travel frequently, you’re undoubtedly going to make some mistakes. Some of these will be because you didn’t understand the social norms of where you’re visiting. Others will be innocent mistakes, like when I forgot to add the time on a train to our travel time and arrived at a Japanese ryokan several hours late.

There are other times when you’re embarrassed and it wouldn’t matter where you were when it happened. In this instance, it also happened during a trip to Japan.

We were staying at the Westin Tokyo in Shibuya using SPG points (which gives you an idea about how long ago this happened). I discovered how long of a subway ride it was to get where we wanted to visit around the city. I brought my headphones with me to listen to music on my iPhone during the trip to pass the time. While I didn’t have any data or phone service, I could listen to what was already stored on the phone.

Once on the subway, I put my headphones into my ears and looked for some good tunes. Coldplay seemed like a good choice and the song “Yellow” was the first one up.

I thought nothing as the song started. It was only 20 seconds until the guitar riff kicked in when Sharon shot me her “Icy Stare of Death™.”

I glanced back with a “What?”

She pointed to my ears, at which I thought my headphones were too loud and she should hear them.

Nope, that wasn’t it.

I never plugged my headphones into my iPhone and the entire subway car was listening to Coldplay.


I mean, honestly, Coldplay was the biggest band in the world at the time and blasting “Yellow” at full volume wasn’t the worst thing I could do. So while my 60 seconds of acting as the boom box of the Tokyo Subway was embarrassing, I could think of many more things worse I could have done.

I fiddled with my phone to hit the pause button and made eye contact with enough people judging me to realize my mistake. I sunk my head in shame and listened to “Fix You” to think about what I’d done.

Thanks to Chris Martin for singing the song that caused my embarrassing moment and the music I listened to for my redemption.

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